December 8, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The International Criminal Court will hold a hearing on the cooperation of the South African government with the war crimes court next April, said a statement on Thursday.
- International Criminal Court Judges at the Hague (Reuters)
The decision to hold a public hearing was taken after Pretoria refusal to arrest Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir while he was on its territory between 13 and 15 June 2015 for the meeting of the African Union summit in Johannesburg.
On 8 December 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (the “ICC” or “Court”) issued a decision convening a public hearing on 7 April 2017, for the purposes of a determination, under article 87(7) of the Rome Statute, on the compliance by the Republic of South Africa with the Court’s request for arrest and surrender of Mr Omer al Bashir to the Court.
In line with the article 87(7), of Rome Statute, any State Party failing to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court is actually considered as preventing the Court from exercising its functions.
The ICC in such a case can decide to "refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council,” provides the article.
The case of Darfur war crimes was referred to the Court by the UN Security Council as the Sudan is not a State Party to Rome Statute.
The ICC had already urged the Security Council to take action over Chad and Djibouti failure to arrest the Sudanese president who is charged with criminal responsibility on 10 counts , including genocide, torture and rape.
Last June ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda blamed the UN Security Council for inaction to enforce two arrest warrants against President al-Bashir saying its position damaged the credibility of both the Council and the International Criminal Court.
"The council’s failure to act in response to 11 findings of non-compliance issued by ICC judges has equally emboldened states ... not only to facilitate Mr. al-Bashir’s travels to their territories but to invite and host him," Bensouda said.